THE CLEANERS

A gebrueder beetz film production
In co-production with Grifa Filmes, WDR, NDR, rbb, VPRO and I Wonder Pictures
In association with Motto Pictures, arte, NHK, BBC, PlayTV, PRO PUBLICA and GEO Television, BBC, SVT, RTS, RTBF, ORF, DR, RSI, Yes Docu, YLE, VGTV, RTV, LRT
With the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA Program of the European Union, FSA, Ancine, BRDE and Film- and Medienstiftung NRW
Produced with the participation of Blue Ice Docs
North America Co-represented by Cinephil & Submarine
World Sales Cinephil

“A neon-lit documentary shot like a noir thriller.”
Variety

“The Cleaners is a riveting documentary about how social media might be ruining the world. A movie of the moment.”
The Verge

“Smart, stylish doc exposes must-discuss issues regarding the companies who dominate the internet.”
The Hollywood Reporter

“The film is packed with pressing questions faced by internet giants, governments, and you and me.”
Cnet.com

“On the basis of The Cleaners, it feels as if a Frankenstein’s monster has been created and is now out of control.”
Screen International

News

  • 11/2017 - World premiere of THE CLEANERS at Sundance Film Festival 2018!

    Our investigative documentary THE CLEANERS will run as part of the competition “World Cinema Documentary” alongside a splendid selection of [...]

    Our investigative documentary THE CLEANERS will run as part of the competition “World Cinema Documentary” alongside a splendid selection of international documentary films. We are overly happy and congratulate the entire team that has dedicatedly worked on this intense project, especially the two directors Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck. THE CLEANERS is a gebrueder beetz film production in co-production with Grifa Filmes, WDR, VPRO, rbb and I Wonder Pictures, in association with Motto Pictures and arte, supported by Film- and Medienstiftung NRW, Creative Europe - Media Program of the European Union, Ancine, FSA, BRDE and Blue Ice Docs. World Sales: Cinephil Stay tuned to what comes next!

    Film website
    Sundance website



THE CLEANERS

Enter a hidden third world shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn‘t like. Here we meet five “digital scavengers”, among thousands of people outsourced from Silicon Valley, whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, we meet people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts.

Yet underneath their work lie profound questions around what makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism. Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an unlegislated space nor a forum rife with censorship? THE CLEANERS struggles to come to terms with this new and disconcerting paradigm. Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.

“A neon-lit documentary shot like a noir thriller.”
Variety

“The Cleaners is a riveting documentary about how social media might be ruining the world. A movie of the moment.”
The Verge

“Smart, stylish doc exposes must-discuss issues regarding the companies who dominate the internet.”
The Hollywood Reporter

“The film is packed with pressing questions faced by internet giants, governments, and you and me.”
Cnet.com

“On the basis of The Cleaners, it feels as if a Frankenstein’s monster has been created and is now out of control.”
Screen International

Directors: Hans Block & Moritz Riesewieck
Producers: Christian Beetz, Georg Tschurtschenthaler / gebrueder beetz filmproduktion
Co-Producers: Fernando Dias & Mauricio Dias, Reinhardt Beetz, Andrea Romeo
Executive Producers: Christopher Clements & Julie Goldman, Philippa Kowarsky
Co-Executive Producers: Steven Silver & Nil Tabatzink & Robin Smith
Line Producers: Kathrin Isberner, Anique Roelfsema, Zora Nessl
Directors of Photography: Axel Schneppat, Max Preiss
Editors: Philipp Gromov, Hans-Jörg Weissbrich, Markus CM Schmidt
Production companies: gebrueder beetz filmproduktion / Grifa Filmes / Motto Pictures
Commissioning editors: Christiane Hinz (WDR), Jutta Krug (WDR), Eric Friedler (NDR), Rolf Bergmann (rbb), Yoko Imai (NHK), Mandy Chang (BBC), Barbara Truyen (VPRO), Cae Coelho (PlayTv)

  • The Cleaners - World Premiere

    Sundance Film Festival - Park City, Utah
    19 January 2018 at 5:30 pm

  • The Cleaners

    Sundance Film Festival - Park City, Utah
    20 January 2018 at 12:30 pm

  • The Cleaners

    Sundance Film Festival - Park City, Utah
    20 January 2018 at 9:00 pm

  • The Cleaners

    Sundance Film Festival - Park City, Utah
    24 January 2018 at 2:30 pm

  • The Cleaners

    Sundance Film festival - Park City, Utah
    27 January 2018 at 1:00 pm

  • The Cleaners - European Premiere

    International Film Festival Rotterdam -
    28 January 2018 at 4:30 pm

  • The Cleaners

    International Film Festival Rotterdam -
    29 January 2018 at 7:00 pm

  • The Cleaners

    International Film Festival Rotterdam -
    31 January 2018 at 9:45 pm

  • The Cleaners

    International Film Festival Rotterdam -
    02 February 2018 at 6:00 pm

  • Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2018

    "Disturbing on several levels, a behind the scenes look at the anonymous toilers who do digital cleaning, policing the internet for violence, child pornography and more.”

  • The Hollywood Reporter, January 19, 2018

    “Smart, stylish doc exposes must-discuss issues regarding the companies who dominate the internet...The Cleaners is an important documentary that invites viewers to now think more deeply and broadly about what does and doesn't appear in their feed-dominated media diet… This arthouse-ready doc will deepen viewers' understanding of, and concern about, some of the Internet Age's most urgent concerns.”

  • Screen International, January 19, 2018

    “The Cleaners offers an intelligent, thought-provoking insight into the global impact of the major social media companies through the testimony of five content moderators responsible for monitoring what is considered legal, decent and acceptable… A timely film, capable of sparking vigorous debate, The Cleaners should secure multiple likes, comments and desires to share...On the basis of The Cleaners, it feels as if a Frankenstein’s monster has been created and is now out of control.”

  • The Verge, January 21, 2018

    “The Cleaners is a riveting documentary about how social media might be ruining the world… Riesewieck and Block nevertheless do a tremendous job of taking subject matter that could be too heady, or that people could simply be too tired of hearing about, and making it seem vibrant and incredibly vital.”

  • Variety, January 24, 2018

    “A neon-lit documentary shot like a noir thriller...This thorough, yet conflicted globe-trotting documentary thriller meets the social media censors struggling to save the web...Today’s historians should bury this documentary in a time capsule to explain 2018 to the future species who will hopefully do a better job running the planet.“

  • CNET, January 29, 2018

    “Vital documentary 'The Cleaners' dishes dirt on social media… It's an incisive new documentary that shines a light on the most uncomfortable questions about social media and the online age… This searingly relevant film is essential viewing...The Cleaners does an exceptional job of summing up the issues surrounding social media. We don't yet know how we're going to clean up this mess, but the film is packed with pressing questions faced by internet giants, governments, and you and me.”

  • Roger Ebert.com, February 5, 2018

    “‘The Cleaners’ displays a fantastic ability to wrap its head around a complete mess… Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck keenly focus on something that affects everyone with a social media account, a crisis with repercussions as unconscionable as they are important… Block and Riesewieck articulate the issue's global importance… Boasts a necessary scope and immediacy for such a crisis of humanity, the questions it raises becoming a disturbing facet themselves… Stunning, subdued cinematography… Prevails most by shining a light on those whose existence has all but been erased by a flawed system, all so that everyone else can still be heard on social media.”